OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 9

9th June 2019

MALTA: FIAU WANTS BETTER MECHANISMS TO MONITOR LARGE CASH TRANSACTIONS

The Malta Independent on 9th June reported that FIAU director and deputy director mentioned introducing a maximum cash-transaction threshold, or mandatory reporting of cash transactions over a certain limit in an interview, saying that they would welcome the introduction of a mechanism to monitor cash transactions.  They also said that the Finance Ministry had also issued a national action plan to implement the national AML/CFT Strategy that will help all enforcement and regulatory agencies improve their methodologies.

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2019-06-09/local-news/FIAU-wants-better-mechanisms-to-monitor-large-cash-transactions-6736209314

US TO INVESTIGATE VIETNAM ‘SHRIMP KING’ FOR ANTI-DUMPING TAX EVASION

VN Express on 9th June reported that Minh Phu Seafood JSC, one of Vietnam’s biggest shrimp processors, is suspected of selling imported Indian shrimp to evade anti-dumping tariffs in the US.  It has been alleged that it bought a large amount of frozen shrimp from India, processed them at a “minimum” level in Vietnam, and then went on to sell them through a subsidiary to the US as a Vietnamese product.

https://e.vnexpress.net/news/business/companies/us-to-investigate-vietnam-shrimp-king-for-anti-dumping-tax-evasion-3935575.html

EU COCAINE SUPPLY BEING ‘UBERISED’ 

An article in Police Professional on 6th June examined the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) annual report, which said that Europe is playing a growing role in synthetic drug production with problems emerging from the use of highly potent synthetic opioids, new production techniques for MDMA and amphetamines, and recent developments in the processing of morphine into heroin inside Europe’s borders.   In 2018, 55 new psychoactive substances (NPS) were detected in the EU for the first time, bringing the total number monitored by the agency to 730.  The report highlights the continuing high availability of most illicit substances, and it says that social media, darknet marketplaces and encryption techniques are playing an increasing role in enabling smaller groups and individuals to engage in drug dealing.

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/eu-cocaine-supply-being-uberised/

CITY OF LONDON POLICE DETECTIVES FACING DISCIPLINARY ACTION AFTER A FRAUD TRIAL COLLAPSED AMID CLAIMS ‘EXPERT’ WITNESS HAD NO QUALIFICATIONS

On 9th June, the Daily Mail reported that 2 detectives are facing disciplinary action after a fraud trial collapsed when they used a ‘fantasist’ as an expert witness.  The detectives used former carbon trader Andrew Ager in an alleged £3.5 million cold-calling scam where 72 people claim they were convinced to make bad investments in carbon credits and diamonds.  The case collapsed, however, when it emerged that Ager had no official qualifications and had never read a book on carbon credits – and more than 20 other cases where he was used could be at risk.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7121159/City-London-police-detectives-facing-disciplinary-action-3-5m-fraud-trial-collapsed.html

WHISKY WARS: THE PEOPLE FIGHTING TO SAVE SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL DRINK FROM COUNTERFEITERS

On 9th June, the Herald in Scotland published an article saying that the industry is at risk from a rising number of counterfeiters flooding the market with fakes, in some cases lethal ones. South American, Russian, Italian and Bulgarian crime cartels, and a shadowy figure dubbed the ‘Young Irishman’, are among those rumoured to be responsible for passing off bogus bottles to some of the world’s biggest collectors.  Professional valuers and brokers say they are contacted all the time by con artists asking for opinions on fake bottles.  Questions were first raised about pre-1900 whiskies after Chinese millionaire spent £7,600 on a dram of 1878 Macallan single malt – the world’s most expensive whisky – while staying at a Swiss hotel in 2017.  It turned out to be fake.  The article says that if estimates are true, around £41 million worth of rare whiskies currently circulating in the secondary market, or in existing collections, are fake.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17693943.whisky-wars-the-people-fighting-to-save-scotlands-national-drink/

FROM THE UK TO DUBAI: ON THE TRAIL OF THE “FRAUD OF THE CENTURY”

On 9th June, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published an article saying that a British fraudster who stole millions of euros of taxpayers’ money had links to a network based in north-west England suspected of large-scale criminal activity for more than 2 decades.  It says that leaked documents reveal Imran Yakub Ahmed, 45, from Preston, who now lives a life of luxury in Dubai, was under investigation by the UK authorities as early as 1998 over concerns about his links with members of the suspected network.  A decade later he would go on to be involved in what has been described as “the fraud of the century”.  He was convicted by an Italian court in 2017 for his participation in a criminal conspiracy to steal VAT.   The Bureau worked with the Sunday Times, the German non-profit Correctiv and 35 European newsrooms to review thousands of leaked documents from HMRC and prosecutors from across Europe, in a project called “Grand Theft Europe” involving carbon credits fraud.

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2019-06-09/from-preston-to-dubai-the-vat-fraud-trail

SWISS MONEY LAUNDERING REPORTING OFFICE ANNUAL REPORT

On 9th June, The Hindu published a report about this annual report which, it says, has disclosed “interesting” cases involving money laundering and terrorism suspects.  The MROS is the agency that receives SAR in Switzerland, and with which other countries’ FIU liaise and submit mutual assistance requests.  In 2018, the MROS received 795 requests from FIU in 104 countries, and 4,671 requests concerning natural and legal persons – these having more than doubled since 2011.  The head of the MROS since February has been Daniel Thelesklaf, formerly at Moneyval.

The annual report is at –

https://www.fedpol.admin.ch/dam/data/fedpol/kriminalitaet/geldwaescherei/jabe/jb-mros-2018-e.pdf

https://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/threads-in-swiss-dirty-money-probe-tinder-date-south-asian-terror-suspect-119060900429_1.html